I don't usually write about specific devices (because so many other blogs do) but I thought I would break with the norm and mention a very neat phone that has quietly been launched by Vodafone KK (Japan).
The Sharp 804sh is a clam-shell design which comes in 4 different colours. It also comes with a number of particulary cool features:
1) Mobile wallet - supports Felica and enables customers to buy things with their mobile phone - debited from their mobile bill (transport tickets, electronic shopping and point of sale goods in specific shops).
2) Integrated compass - for all those Ray Mears fans - this is the phone for you - if you get lost - the phone can tell you north from south and east from west (uses no.3)
3) Finally, the coolest of them all - the Motion Control Sensor (MCS)- this is a very neat little chip in the device which recognises and responds to movements and opens up a whole host of new opportunities for handsets - from new interactive gaming scenarios (pointing a gun, swinging a golf club) to improving the accuracy of location technologies (AGPS cant tell very well what height you're at - e.g. what floor of a building you might be on).
This technology has been on the market since February on 2G devices, but this is the first time it has been incorporated in to a 3g offering. The motion control sensor element potentially represents a strong USP for Vodafone KK over the Christmas sales period and a strong technology advantage given that the IPR is owned jointly by Vodafone and Aichi Steel Corporation.
I demo'd this at the end of last year and although it was in prototype state, the user experience of the MCS technology is extremely impressive - it really makes you smile. I think the impact will initially be in the game space, and it should enable a step-change in the mobile phone gaming experience which will reduce the distance between the mobile and portable game players such as the PSP3, Nintendo DS and iGame(!)